Elevating resource demands to a business question

Photo by John HritzIt’s not just pure technical decisions which are business decisions. I’ve written before about how your architecture impacts your business strategy, but the same can be said of other aspects of technologists’ work, too. Here is an example I was involved with recently.

The question asked of me was: How long do you need the developers for, and when can I use them for our other projects? Clearly there is a business impact to using people on one piece of work versus another. The questioner was motivated to deliver revenue for other areas of the business, but he need developers to do that.

If I was to give a single fixed answer, that wouldn’t give the questioner any options to work with. Both projects benefit the company, and the company should have a choice as to how it balances its resources. So the answer can be constructed more openly: it requires this amount of person-weeks, and it’s up to the board (company board, programme board, etc) to decide whether everyone should work on one project, or if it should split the work between teams of various sizes. This way the resourcing question is able to be answered more strategically.

The questioner—or, better, the board—have even more options if we structure the work to have maximum walkawayability. That is, if they can genuinely choose to walk away from the project at frequent intervals without losing value. To do this, we need to make sure the project is structured to deliver the most value earliest, and keeps doing that continually.

Photo by John Hritz